If you’ve ever strapped on a pair of skis with any intention of going full send, you know of the Jackson Hole Tram. It’s one of the most iconic in the world, accessing some of the best terrain within a resort boundary, easy access to slack country, and with the right gear, the gates to steeps that only the bold and beautiful can muster up enough balls to point it.
The tram itself has a 100 skier capacity, travels over 2 miles straight up the face of Rendevous Mountain, and by the time you step off this 9-minute ride, you will have gained over 4,ooo ft of vert. The ride itself is an experience that can not be matched as you hover over snowfields iconic to Jackson and get an ariel view of the one and only Corbette’s Couloir.
And when you’re in Jackson, stepping up to the tram, it’s beyond important to be prepared with the right gear and positively certain that you’re so amped, you’re stoked.
WNDR ALPINE INTENTION 110
Once you get to the top, you’ve got to have a way to get back down, and when the WNDR Alpine Intentions are strapped to your feet, you can bet it’s going to be nothing but hooting and hollering all the way back down. It’s the first ski to be built with biobased materials derived from microalgae that holds an impeccable edge and reduces the production’s environmental impact. And with 110 underfoot, the Intention is an all-mountain ski that likes to explore, and f*ing send it. These sticks are primed for the Jackson sidecountry, a tour out into the great beyond, and even a day of ripping tram laps.
Until relatively recently, once you clicked into your bindings you were locked into riding the chair for the day. But as ski tech continues to improve, so does the versatility of the Marker Duke PT and the ability to lap the resort and tour into the backcountry all in the same afternoon. The Ride and Hike toe piece is compatible with boots for laying it over on the corduroy and taking it to the backcountry hikes. And with a magnesium heel housing, there is no threat of blowing out of these bindos despite their lightweight. The Marker Duke PT is perfect binding to rally up the Jackson tram with confidence that it doesn’t matter where the trails or tour leads.
A boot boasting comfort on the walk up, stiff performance on the ride down, and can click into any binding, the Hoji Free is a boot for Monday, Tuesday, Sunday, and every day in between. If you prefer to earn your turns, the 55 degrees of motion while in walk mode turns this touring boot into a slipper and once you reach the summit, the Interlock system quickly reverts this boot back into a downhill shredder. It’s stiff enough for ripping laps, light enough to climb and tour, and because it’s the preferred boot of Hoji, one can dream the pillow dropping skills come with your purchase.
The moment you step off the trail map at Jackson, it gets real in a hurry as you’re at the will of Mother Nature and her snowpack. There is no guaranteed safe return, but the Black Diamond Jetforce does help to ease the mind a bit so you can enjoy the turns. The Alpride E1 airbag system is revolutionary in that there are no air canisters for deployment, so you can practice and test your systems on repeat. And with the user at the forefront of design, the trigger can be moved to either shoulder strap for comfort and urgent deployment. Avy danger is and always will be real and a deterrent to the sport we love, but the Jetforce Pack allows for a little more safety and freedom from the magic carpet.
A glove built for all weather conditions that is both durable and technically sound, and doesn’t look half bad either is hard to come by unless sus manos are wrapped in the Oyuki Tamsahii GTX Glove. The combination of softshell and water-resistant goatskin makes for superior comfort and dexterity, while the wrist loop cord will keep your gloves attached to your flailing limbs if by chance a yard sale is on the docket. The Tamsahii Glove was stitched to battle the elements and terrain in and out of the boundaries.
No doubt you’re going to be covered head to toe in the best of Polartec, 20k/2ok, or some other ridiculously breathable and weather-resistant gear. But on the cold days and after you’ve skinned up, throwing on a puffer like the Picture Organic Takashima is a veteran move. The Polartec Power Stretch technology is like the Stretch Armstrong of fabrics and allows for an unlimited range of motion. The Takashima is an unmatched pairing of warmth and lightweight comfort, opening the doors to unlimited skiing no matter the temps.
The beauty of Jackson and hopping on the tram is there are simply no boundaries to where pow can be slain. And with your pack strapped to your back, you’ve got to have a few essentials to cover your tracks and prepare for the unknown. First, the Smith Wildcats are perfect to throw on for the uphill, the tour, and crushing a few cold ones at après. The ChromaPop is quite literally easy on the eyes, and when you’re working in overdrive, the airflow, coverage, and no-slip nose make ducking the rope just another walk in the park.
Having a multitool as part of your ski EDC is an absolute must, and the Leatherman Charge Plus is keen to get you out of any jam and handle repairs out in the wild. It’s loaded with 19 tools including a cutting hook, pliers, screwdriver, and the always important bottle opener. The Charge Plus is key for a worry-free day in the backcountry, especially when you’ve got some duct tape to help patch your repairs.
Much like the Jetforce Avy Pack, the Black Diamond Recon Avy Safety Set isn’t necessarily something you want to carry, but if you and your squad get yourselves into some backcountry trouble, this Safety Set will help to save lives. The set includes a shovel, probe, and beacon (check the batteries before any mission) to be stowed in your pack with easy access in the event of an avalanche. And while this BD Recon Avy Set is great to have, it’s even better if you’ve had the training and know-how to use it properly.
Whether you’re spinning tram laps or setting out for a long trek, the VSSL Flask is a nice little party accessory to have in the pack. Elevating the flask, this vessel has a 4-mode light, bottle opener, 2 collapsable shot glasses, holds 9 ounces of your favorite go juice, and even a compass to help guide the way home after a big day in the mountains.
Remember, this is Jackson, and THIS TRAM is the gateway to a skier’s/boarder’s paradise. It’s steep, fast, has full send drops, and when it’s time to explore, it’s a quick exit through the gate into wonders of the Grand Tetons. Slay the pow, butter the gnar, hoot and holler, and consider looking before you leap. And it should go without saying, the Jackson Tram is a one of a kind transport that demands you press glass and will have you coming back for more.
Cook bacon, throw it in a sandwich bag and into your pocket for a snack